Fireworks anemone

Bugs, or invertebrates, aren’t just found on land or in rivers and streams, they’re also found in the sea. The Fireworks anemone is a spectacular marine invertebrate – the beautiful, bright tentacles really do remind you of a firework exploding in a clear night sky The Fireworks anemone is a beautiful burrowing anemone that can grow up to 30cm across. Unlike the anemones you see in rockpools at the seaside, which belong to the order Actiniaria and are free-living on rocks, the Fireworks anemone lives in a soft tube up to one metre long, made of mucus, mud and stinging cells (cnidae), buried in soft sediments.

Fast Facts

Latin name: Pachycerianthus multiplicatus

Notable feature: Beautiful burrowing anemone that can grow up to 30cm across

Rarity in the UK: Rare / Common

Where in the UK: Atlantic Ocean, off the South and West Coast

The burrowing anemones of the order Ceriantharia have elongated bodies, and have two rings of tentacles – short ones around the mouth (labial tentacles) and long ones around the edge (marginal tentacles). Unlike the more familiar rockpool anemones, they cannot retract their tentacles, and instead rapdily retreat into their tube when disturbed.

The Fireworks anemone is found at depths between 10 and 130 metres in sea lochs on the western coast of Scotland. It is a nationally scarce species, and has been added to the list of UK Biodiversity Action Plan species because it is under threat from activities that damage and disturb the soft sediments in which it lives – activities such as scallop dredging.